Longer Looks: Police On The Front Line Of Mental Health Crisis; The Daily Work Of A Hospice Nurse
Each week, KHN finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Boston Globe:
Families Failed By A Broken Mental Health Care System Often Have No One To Call But Police
More than 40 percent of people killed by Massachusetts police over the last decade were suicidal, mentally ill, or showed clear signs of crisis, a Spotlight Team investigation shows. The deaths are the heavy human toll of an ongoing collision between sick people failed by the mental health care system and police who are often poorly equipped to help, but are thrust into this dangerous role. (Jenna Russell, Michael Rezendes, Maria Cramer, Scott Helman and Todd Wallack, 7/6)
The Boston Globe:
Keith Carnute Was Spiraling Into Crisis. Officer Tim Sorrell Was Trained To Help.
Few police officers in Massachusetts were as well prepared as Tim Sorrell was that day in 2011 for an encounter with someone in mental health crisis. Unlike most of his colleagues across the state, Sorrell had spent 40 hours learning how to handle distraught, disruptive, or suicidal people. A year earlier, in June 2010, he had spent a full week at a crisis intervention training run by the Berkshires branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He was the only person sent to the training from his tiny department, and he says the experience changed him. (Jenna Russell, 7/6)
The New Yorker:
A Tender Hand In the Presence Of Death
Heather Meyerend is a hospice nurse who works in several neighborhoods in South Brooklyn—Sheepshead Bay, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge. ... She sees her work as preparing a patient for the voyage he is about to take, and accompanying him partway down the road. ... Dying can be long and bewildering, lonely and painful, frequently undignified, and consumed by pressing and unpredictable and constantly changing and multiplying needs. It’s a relief to have someone around who understands what’s going on and what may happen next. On the other hand, when dying is long it becomes ordinary, just another kind of living, but one in which your friends may be gone and your children busy, or not busy enough. In that case, it can be a good thing to see someone who is not a member of your family; who comes from the world outside your illness; who has known you long enough to be familiar but not long enough to have heard your stories already; who wants to know where your pain is but doesn’t need you to explain everything; and who is there to take your vital signs but who behaves as though she might have come over to borrow a snow shovel or a couple of eggs. (Larissa MacFarquhar, 7/5)
The Addicted Generation
Prescription stimulants like Ritalin were considered a godsend when they first started being used to help hyperactive, unfocused kids succeed in school. So many children were on ADHD drugs in the ’90s that lines would form outside the school nurse’s office, where students went to take their midday doses. But almost 20 years have passed since Diller predicted that the tidal wave of prescriptions written in the ’90s would come to shape an entire generation. Now, those children are all grown up and living on their own. As adults, many find themselves unable to get off the drugs. Some fear losing their jobs, while others fear losing the only self they have come to know — a self with a prescription drug dependency that’s difficult to kick. (Madeleine Thomas, 7/5)
We’ve Long Blamed Carbs For Making Us Fat. What If That's Wrong?
It’s one of the most hotly contested areas of dieting: How much do carbohydrates matter when it comes to weight loss? If you ask a number of celebrities and authors of diet books, it’s pasta, bread, and cookies that stand between you and a svelte physique. These low-carb proselytizers make very specific claims about the effect cutting carbs has on the body, suggesting that it can speed up fat loss and increase calorie burn. Indeed, many dieters have found at least short-term success following low-carb schemes like the Atkins or Dukan diet. (Belluz, 7/6)
‘Inception’ In The Lab: Scientists Are Trying To Implant False Visions In People
In the movie “Inception,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s character interferes with others’ dreams to implant new ideas in their minds. It’s a trippy plot premise. It’s also not entirely science fiction. In the last few years, researchers have developed a way to “incept” in real life, a technique they hope could eventually help people with disorders from depression to autism. And a new study indicates we could do “inception” without the subject even being aware of what’s being learned. (Anna Vlasits, 6/30)
The Daily Beast:
Is Virtual Reality For Our Own Memories Really Such A Great Idea?
While big budget productions will rake in millions in the coming years, the on-the-ground presence of virtual reality will be about more than studios—it will be about sharing individual experiences and recording personal moments. And that’s maybe not a good thing. At a recent Cannes Lions Festival appearance, Google VR vice president Clay Bavor said some interesting things about the future of VR, as a way for users to start reliving their own life experiences. It starts with the close connection between memory and experience. “When you look at your brain under an fMRI,” he said, “remembering and experiencing look very similar.” (G. Clay Whittaker, 7/5)